Navigation

MUSINGS / July 6, 2018

The Yomiuri ShimbunThis is a translation of the Henshu Techo column from The Yomiuri Shimbun’s July 6 issue.

* * *

Poet Hiroshi Yoshino put the name of his first-born daughter in a poem when she was still a little girl. I suppose this was a show of his determination as a father.

Here is a passage from the piece, entitled “Nanako e” (To Nanako):

This may seem abrupt / but Nanako / your father / will not expect much of you / for he now clearly understands / how much / people / foil themselves / by trying to meet the expectations of others / What your father wants / is for you / to have good health / and to cherish yourself

Futoshi Sano, 58, a former education ministry director-general, was arrested on suspicion of accepting a bribe. They say this bureaucrat is the father of a medical student. What does he think he has given to his son?

When serving as head of the Minister’s Secretariat, Sano allegedly helped Tokyo Medical University gain admittance to the ministry’s private university support program in exchange for adding extra points to his son’s entrance exam results, thereby helping him attain backdoor admission. Accepting bribes is regarded as “oshoku,” a Japanese word meaning “to sully the job,” because it does precisely that. What then do you call sullying the duties of a parent? I wondered what that word — unlikely to be found in a dictionary — might be as I read the article on his arrest.

I am now wondering if the son knew anything about the misdeed. Sano did the one thing an education ministry official should never do under any circumstances, and as a father ... I dare not go any further. Yoshino’s poem is resonating with me more than ever.Speech

Click to play

0:00/-:--

+ -

Generating speech. Please wait...

Become a Premium Member to use this service.

Become a Premium Member to use this service.

Offline error: please try again.